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Throughout history, disguises and deceit have played undeniable roles in turning the tides of war or social upheaval. In the 15th century, Joan of Arc disguised herself as a man and led French troops to victory over the English at Orleans in 1429. In this century, Mao Tse-Tung deceived his country into thinking he was an innocent peasant reformer and brought communist restraints to nearly one billion Chinese. In World War II, German warships disguised themselves as unarmed merchant vessels and then sank scores of unsuspecting Allied ships as they passed by.

Now, in our country, comes a new group disguised as a handgun "education and safety" organization but which in reality bears the distinct colors of gun control.

Its name is the National Alliance Against Violence. That sounds innocuous enough, until you look at what they really promote; then they would more accurately be called the National Alliance Against Handguns.

NAAV has a scheme, designed to work in conjunction with local police, paid by taxpayers' dollars, to bring anti-handgun laws to American cities.

NAAV began in earnest in New York in 1983. Chaired by Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, the group is comprised of numerous anti-gun notables such as former Chicago police chief Richard Brzeczek; Houston police chief Lee Brown; Anthony Bouza, chief of the Minneapolis Police Department; California attorney Victor Palmieri, who led the anti-gun Proposition 15 campaign in 1982; and anti-gun Rep. Paul McCloskey of California.

The group, which has outlined its political campaign in a 128-page manual produced in conjunction with the New York Police Department, has a single, dominant theme: handguns are inherently unsafe and should not be owned by city residents, who are encouraged to give up their guns to local police.

"Our goal," writes Betsey Gotbaum, NAAV executive director, in the forward to the manual, "is to demonstrate that handguns kept in the home or carried by civilians are not a safe and effective method of self-protection.

"Our effort is not unlike the campaign begun over a decade ago to make Americans aware of the public health hazards of cigarettes. Handguns are also hazardous to the public health."

In another preface to the manual, New York City Police Commissioner Robert J. McGuire states, "The usefulness of handguns for self-protection is a myth."

The campaign hinges on the use of rank-and-file police officers, who will go from community to community--at city expense--to "educate" citizens about the "hazards of handguns." The NAAV manual provides police with a sample speech that officers may use when addressing public gatherings, along with suggestions for slide presentations, charts, graphs and brochures which also are aimed against handguns. Already, NAAV programs have surfaced in New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, Charlotte and other cities.

According to Internal Revenue Service records received under a Freedom of Information Act request in 1983, the NAAV (formerly called the Foundation on Violence in America) spent nearly $80,000 to develop the campaign in New York. Approximately $50,000 went toward developing a project "to mobilize and activate police efforts to reduce handgun violence at a community level," while some $30,000 went toward NAAV salaries.

In 1984, NAAV became even more industrious and produced a film, narrated by actor Michael Douglas (who also serves on NAAV's advisory board), warning about the "dangers" of handguns. Like the group's other literature and material, the film's message is not about getting rid of violence; it's about getting rid of handguns. NAAV already has begun airing the film in New York schools in an attempt to influence children, and apparently will distribute it to local civic groups and other organizations as well.

[Handgun Control Inc., incidentally, recently has adopted the same strategy, setting up a tax-exempt offshoot in Washington called the "Handgun Information Center." The group has produced so-called "handgun safety" brochures which are thinly-disguised gun control messages and they are distributing them nationwide in hopes of curbing the purchase of pistols and revolvers.]

All of the news about NAAV's campaign is not bad, however. In Minnesota, the program hit a snag when rank-and-file police officers said they wanted no part of it and the Minnesota state treasurer objected to it as an improper use of taxpayers' money. At the insistence of Chief Bouza, however, the program was launched and about 10 officers have been assigned to it. The NAAV will continue and it is imperative that it be stopped. Here's how:

First, support your local police. Overwhelmingly, beat-police officers support the private ownership of handguns. Some big-city police chiefs might face political pressure from mayors to assign officers to an NAAV campaign, but community cops generally don't have this problem. If you support law enforcement, the officers will support you, and no police chief is going to jump into a political campaign when his men are solidly and fiercely opposed to it.

Second, pay attention to your local schools, hospitals and civic groups. If they are having a lecture or presentation on handgun safety, make sure that it is exactly that--a program that teaches the safe and responsible handling of firearms and not one that carries a subliminal anti-gun message. Find out about the speaker's credentials. Is he a knowledgeable authority on firearms, such as a certified National Rifle Association firearms instructor, or is he simply a local political figure promoting his personal interests?

Finally, check all "safety and educational" materials for content. If the facts read like a litany from NAAV, HCI or the National Coalition to Ban Handguns, chances are that you've got a ringer.

Look beneath the surface. What's there is downright harmful.
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Title Annotation:National Alliance Against Violence
Author:Andrews, Reid
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Date:May 1, 1985
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